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September 5th.

At five o’clock in the evening of the 2d of September I commenced my journey back to Alexandria. During the fortnight I remained at Cairo the Nile had continued to rise considerably, and the interest of the region had increased in proportion. In three days’ time I arrived safely at Alexandria, and again put up at Colombier’s. Two days had still to elapse before the departure of the French steam-vessel, and I made use of this time to take a closer survey of the town and its environs.

On my arrival at Alexandria I met two Egyptian funerals. The first was that of a poor man, and not a soul followed the coffin. The corpse lay in a wooden box without a lid, a coarse blanket had been spread over it, and four men carried the coffin. The second funeral had a more respectable air. The coffin, indeed, was not less rude, but the dead man was covered with a handsome shawl, and four “mourning women” followed the body, raising a most dolorous howl from time to time. A motley crowd of people closed the procession. The corpse was laid in the grave without the coffin.

The catacombs of Alexandria are very extensive, and well worth a visit. A couple of miles from them we see the celebrated plain on which the army of Julius Cæsar was once posted. The cistern and bath of Cleopatra were both under water. I could, therefore, only see the place where they stood.

The viceroy’s palace, a spacious building inclining to the European style, has a pleasing effect. Its interior arrangement is also almost wholly European.

The bazaar contains nothing worthy of remark. The arsenal looks very magnificent when viewed from without. It is difficult to obtain admission into this building, and you run the risk of being insulted by the workmen. The hospital has the appearance of a private house.

I was astonished at the high commission which is here demanded on changing small sums of money. In changing a collonato, a coin very much used in this country, and worth about two guilders, the applicant must lose from half a piastre to two piastres, according to the description of coin he requires. If beshliks are taken, the commission charged is half a piastre; but if piastres are wanted, two must be paid. The government value of a collonato is twenty piastres; in general exchange it is reckoned at twenty-two, and at the consulate’s at twenty-one piastres.

Departure from Alexandria.

September 7th.

At eight o’clock in the morning I betook myself on board the French steam-packet Eurotas, a beautiful large vessel of 160-horse power. At nine o’clock we weighed anchor.

The weather was very unfavourable. Though it did not rain, we continually had contrary winds, and the sea generally ran high. In consequence we did not sight the island of Candia until the evening of the third day, four-and-twenty hours later than we should have done under ordinary circumstances.

Two women, who came on board as passengers to Syra, were so violently attacked by sea-sickness, that they left the deck a few hours after we got under way, and did not reappear until they landed at Syra. A very useful arrangement on board the French vessel is the engagement of a female attendant, whose assistance sometimes becomes very necessary. Heaven be praised, I had not much to fear from the attacks of sea-sickness. The weather must be very bad as, for instance, during our passage through the Black Sea before my health is affected, and even then I recover rapidly. During our whole voyage, even when the weather was wretched, I remained continually on deck, so that during the day-time I could not miss seeing even the smallest islet. On

September 10th,

late in the evening, we discovered the island of Candia or Crete, and the next morning we were pretty close to it. We could, however, distinguish nothing but bare unfruitful mountains, the tallest among which, my namesake Mount Ida, does not look more fertile than the rest. On the right loomed the island of Scarpanto. We soon left it in our wake, and also passed the Brothers’ Islands, and many others, some of them small and uninhabited, besides separate colossal rocks, towering majestically into the sea. Soon afterwards we passed the islands Santorin and Anaph.

The latter of these islands is peculiarly beautiful. In the foreground a village lies at the foot of a high mountain, with its peak surmounted by a little church. On the side towards the sea this rock shoots downwards so perpendicularly, that we might fancy it had been cut off with a saw.

Since we had come in sight of Candia, we had not been sailing on the high seas. Scarcely did one island vanish from our view, before it was replaced by another. On

September 11th,

between three and four in the morning, we reached Syra. The terrible contrary winds with which we had been obliged to contend during almost the whole of our passage had caused us to arrive a day behind our time, to make up for which delay we only stayed half a day here, instead of a day and a half. This was a matter of indifference to those of us who were travelling further, for as we came from Egypt, we should not have been allowed in any case to disembark. Those who landed here proceeded at once to the quarantine-house.

Syra possesses a fine harbour. From our vessel we had a view over the whole town and its environs. An isolated mountain, crowned by a convent and church, the seat of the bishop, rises boldly from the very verge of the shore. The town winds round this mountain in the form of several wreaths, until it almost reaches the episcopal buildings. The background closes with the melancholy picture of a barren mountain-chain. A lighthouse stands on a little neighbouring island. The quarantine establishment looks cheerful enough, and is situate at a little distance from the town on the sea-shore.

It was Sunday when we arrived here; and as Syra belongs to Greece, I here heard the sound of bells like those of Mount Lebanon, and once more their strain filled me with deep and indescribable emotion. Never do we think so warmly of our home as when we are solitary and alone among strange people in a far-distant land!

I would gladly have turned aside from my route to visit Athens, which I might have reached in a few hours; but then I should once more have been compelled to keep quarantine, and perhaps on leaving Greece the infliction would have to be borne a third time, a risk which I did not wish to run. I therefore preferred keeping quarantine at Malta, and having done with it at once.

On the same day at two o’clock we once more set sail. This day and the following I remained on deck as much as possible, bidding defiance to wind and rain, and gazing at the islands as we glided past one after another. As one island disappeared, another rose in its place. Groups of isolated rocks also rose at intervals, like giants from the main, to form a feature in the changing panorama.

On the right, in the far distance, we could distinguish Paros and Antiparos, on the left the larger Chermian Isles; and at length we passed close to Cervo (Stag’s Island), which is particularly distinguished by the beauty of its mountain-range. Here, as at Syra, we find an isolated mountain, round which a town winds almost to its summit.

September 12th.

As I came on deck to-day with the sun, the mainland of the Morea was in sight on our right, a great plain, with many villages scattered over its surface, and a background of bare hills. After losing sight of the Morea we sailed once more on the high seas.

This day might have had a tragical termination for us. I was sitting as usual on deck, when I noticed an unusual stir among the sailors and officers, and even the commander ran hastily towards me. Nevertheless I did not dare to ask what had happened; for in proportion as the French are generally polite, they are proud and overbearing on board their steamers. I therefore remained quietly seated, and contented myself with watching every movement of the officers and men. Several descended to the coal-magazine, returning heated, blackened by the coals, and dripping with water. At length a cabin-boy came hurrying by me; and upon my asking him what was the matter, he replied in a whisper, that fire had broken out in the coal-room. Now I knew the whole extent of our danger, and yet could do nothing but keep my seat, and await whatever fate should bring us. It was most fortunate for us that the fire occurred during the daytime, and had been immediately discovered by the engine-man. Double chain-pumps were rigged, and the whole magazine was laid under water, a proceeding which had the effect of extinguishing the flames. The other passengers knew nothing of our danger; they were all asleep or sitting quietly in the cabins; the sailors were forbidden to tell them what had happened, and even my informant the cabin-boy begged me not to betray him. We had three hundredweight of gunpowder on board.

September 14th.

We did not come in sight of land until this evening, when the goal of our journey appeared.


We cast anchor in the harbour of Lavalette at seven o’clock.

During the whole of our journey from Alexandria the wind had been very unfavourable; the sea was frequently so agitated, that we could not walk across the deck without the assistance of a sailor.

The distance from Alexandria via Syra to Malta is 950 sea-miles. We took eight days to accomplish this distance, landing only at Syra. The heat was moderate enough, seldom reaching 28 or 29 degrees Reaumur.

The appearance of Malta is picturesque; it contains no mountains, and consists entirely of hills and rocks.

The town of Lavalette is surrounded by three lines of fortifications, winding like steps up the hill on which the town lies; the latter contains large fine houses, all built of stone.

September 15th.

This morning at eight o’clock we disembarked, and were marched off to keep quarantine in the magnificent castle of the Knights of St. John.

This building stands on a hill, affording a view over the whole island in the direction of Civita Vecchia. We found here a number of clean rooms, and were immediately supplied with furniture, bedding, etc. by the establishment at a very reasonable charge. Our host at once despatched to every guest a bill of fare for breakfast and dinner, so that each one can choose what he wishes, without being cheated as to the prices. The keepers here are very obliging and attentive; they almost all know something of Italian, and execute any commission with which they are entrusted punctually and well. The building for the incarcerated ones is situate on an elevated plateau. It has two large wings, one on each side, one story high, containing apartments each with a separate entrance. Adjoining the courtyard is the inn, and not far from it the church; neither, however, may be visited by the new-comers. The requisite provisions are procured for them by a keeper, who takes them to the purchasers. The church is always kept locked. A broad handsome terrace, with a prospect over the sea, the town of Lavalette, and the whole island, forms the foreground of the picture. This terrace and the ramparts behind the houses form very agreeable walks. The courtyard of our prison is very spacious, and we are allowed to walk about in it as far as a statue which stands in the middle. Until ten o’clock at night we enjoy our liberty; but when this hour arrives, we are sent to our respective rooms and locked up. The apartments of the keepers are quite separate from ours.

The arrangements of the whole establishment are so good and comfortable, that we almost forget that we are prisoners. What a contrast to the quarantine-house at Alexandria!

If a traveller receives a visitor, he is not separated from his guest by ditches and bars, but stands only two steps from him in the courtyard. The windows here are not grated; and though our clothes were hung on horses to air, neither we nor our effects were smoked out. If it had not been for the delay it caused, I should really have spent the eighteen days of my detention here very pleasantly. But I wished to ascend Mount Etna, and was a fixture here until the 2d of October.

October 1st.

The quarantine doctor examined us in a very superficial manner, and pronounced that we should be free to-morrow. Upon this a boisterous hilarity prevailed. The prisoners rejoiced at the prospect of speedy release, and shouted, sang, and danced in the courtyard. The keepers caught the infection, and all was mirth and good-humour until late in the night.

October 2d.

At seven o’clock this morning we were released from thraldom. A scene similar to that at Alexandria then took place; every one rushed to seize upon the strangers. It is here necessary that the traveller should be as much upon his guard as in Egypt among the Arabs, in the matters of boat-fares, porterage, etc. If a bargain is not struck beforehand, the people are most exorbitant in their demands.

A few days before our release, I had made an arrangement with an innkeeper for board, lodging, and transport. Today he came to fetch me and my luggage, and we crossed the arm of the sea which divides Fort Manuel from the town of Lavalette.

A flight of steps leads from the shore into the town, past the three rows of fortifications rising in tiers above each other. In each of these divisions we find streets and houses. The town, properly speaking, lies quite at the top; it is therefore necessary to mount and descend frequently, though not nearly so often as at Constantinople. The streets are broad and well paved, the houses spacious and finely built; the place of roofs is supplied by terraces, frequently parcelled out into little flower-beds, which present a very agreeable appearance.

My host gave me a tiny room, and meals on the same principle coffee with milk morning and evening, and three dishes at dinner-time; but for all this I did not pay more than forty-five kreutzers, or about one shilling and sixpence.

The first thing I did after taking up my quarters here was to hasten to a church to return thanks to the Almighty for the protection He had so manifestly extended to me upon my long and dangerous journey. The first church which I entered at Lavalette was dedicated to St. Augustine. I was particularly pleased with it, for since my departure from Vienna I had not seen one so neatly or so well built. Afterwards I visited the church of St. John, and was much struck with its splendour. This building is very spacious, and the floor is completely covered with monumental slabs of marble, covering the graves of the knights. The ceiling is ornamented with beautiful frescoes, and the walls are sculptured from ceiling to floor with arabesques, leaves, and flowers, in sandstone.

All these ornaments are richly gilt, and present a peculiarly imposing appearance. The side-chapels contain numerous monuments, mostly of white marble, and one single one of black, in memory of celebrated Maltese knights. At the right-hand corner of the church is the so-called “rose-coloured” chapel. It is hung round with a heavy silk stuff of a red colour, which diffuses a roseate halo over all the objects around. The altar is surrounded by a high massive railing. Two only of the paintings are well executed namely, that over the high altar, and a piece representing Christ on the cross. The pillars round the altar are of marble; and at each side of the grand altar rise lofty canopies of red velvet fringed with gold, reaching almost to the vaulted cupola.

The uncomfortable custom of carrying chairs to and fro during church-time, which is so universal throughout Italy, begins already at Malta.

The predilection for the clerical profession seems to prevail here, as it does throughout Italy; I could almost say that every fifteenth person we meet either is a clergyman or intends to become one. Children of ten or twelve years already run about in the black gown and three-cornered hat.

The streets are handsome and cleanly kept, particularly the one which intersects the town; some of them are even watered. The counters of the dealers’ shops contain the most exquisite wares; in fact, every where we find indications that we are once more on European ground.

When we see the Fachini here, with their dark worked caps or round straw hats, their short jackets and comfortable trousers, with jaunty red sashes round their waists, and their bold free glance, when we contrast them with the wretched fellahs of Egypt, and consider that these men both belong to the same class in society, and that the fellahs even inhabit the more fruitful country, we begin to have our doubts of Mehemet Ali’s benignant rule.

The governor’s palace, a great square building, stands on a magnificent open space; next to it is the library; and opposite, the chief guard-house rears its splendid front, graced with pillars. The coffee-houses here are very large; they are kept comfortably and clean, particularly that on the great square, which is brilliantly illuminated every evening.

Women and girls appear dressed in black; they are usually accustomed to throw a wide cloak over their other garments, and wear a mantilla which conceals arms, chest, and head. The face is left uncovered, and I saw some very lovely ones smiling forth from the black drapery. Rich people wear these upper garments of silk; the cloaks of the poorer classes are made of merino or cheap woollen stuffs.

It was Sunday when I entered Lavalette for the first time. Every street and church was thronged with people, all of whom were neatly and decently dressed. I saw but few beggars, and those whom I met were less ragged than the generality of their class.

The military, the finest I had ever seen, consisted entirely of tall handsome men, mostly Scotchmen. Their uniforms were very tasteful. One regiment wore scarlet jackets and white linen trousers; another, black jackets and shoulder-knots, in fact, the whole uniform is black, with the exception of the trousers, which are of white linen.

It seemed much more the fashion to drive than to ride here. The coaches are of a very peculiar kind, which I hardly think can be found elsewhere. They consist of a venerable old rattling double-seated box, swinging upon two immense wheels, and drawn by a single horse in shafts. The coachman generally runs beside his vehicle.

October 3d.

To-day I drove in a carriage (for the first time since my departure from Vienna, a period of six months and a half) to Civita Vecchia, to view this ancient town of Malta, and particularly the celebrated church of St. Peter and St. Paul. On this occasion I traversed the whole length of the island, and had an opportunity of viewing the interior.

Malta consists of a number of little elevations, and is intersected in all directions by excellent roads. I also continually passed handsome villages, some of them so large that they looked like thriving little towns. The heights are frequently crowned by churches of considerable extent and beauty; although the whole island consists of rock and sandstone, vegetation is sufficiently luxurious. Fig, lemon, and orange trees grow every where, and plantations of the cotton-shrub are as common as potato-fields in my own country. The stems of these shrubs are not higher than potato-plants, and are here cultivated exactly in the same way. I was told that they had been stunted this year by the excessive drought, but that in general they grew a foot higher.

The peasants were every where neatly dressed, and live in commodious well-built houses, universally constructed of stone, and furnished with terraces in lieu of roofs.


is a town of splendid houses and very elegant country-seats. Many inhabitants of Lavalette spend the summer here, in the highest portion of the island.

The church of St. Peter and St. Paul is a spacious building, with a simple interior. The floor is covered merely with stone slabs; the walls are white-washed to the ceiling, but the upper portion is richly ornamented with arabesques. A beautiful picture hanging behind the high altar represents a storm at sea. The view from the hall of the convent is magnificent; we can overlook almost the entire island, and beyond our gaze loses itself in the boundless expanse of ocean.

Near the church stands a chapel, beneath which is St. Paul’s grotto, divided into two parts: in the first of these divisions we find a splendid statue of St. Paul in white marble; the second was the dungeon of the apostle.

Not far from this chapel, at the extremity of the town, are the catacombs, which resemble those at Rome, Naples, and other towns.

During our drive back we made a little detour to see the gorgeous summer-palace and garden of the governor.

The whole excursion occupied about seven hours. During my residence in Malta the heat varied from 20 to 25 degrees Reaumur in the sun.